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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Ding-Dong (05/16/13)

TITLE: Pickled Parsnips
By Jack Taylor


Pickled Parsnips

You could see it in her eyes. Shock. Disgust. Defiance.

The offending delicacy was out of her mouth and onto the floor in a nano-second. The munchkin’s eyebrows arched, her nose crinkled like a rabbit’s, her chin jutted out, and her mouth inverted like an upside down banana.

“Ding-dong,” said Marvin.

Piercing eyes flashed fire in his direction. A tongue still coated in flecks of pickled parsnips darted out like a viper’s. Supple fingers worked to claw away the offending remnants on her tongue. A glass of milk washed down the rest.

“Ding-dong,” said Marvin.

A tentative toe stretched for the tiled floor. Sleepered feet shuffled down a parquet hallway. A brief stop at the floor to ceiling mirror in order to hyperextend the tongue and examine it for more flecks. Back and forth. Up and down. Satisfaction.

A voice from behind the closed bathroom door. “Alexis, did you finish your dinner like a good girl?”

About face. Sleepered feet shuffled back onto the tile. A napkin. Clean the floor. Wrap the remnants from off the plate. Bury it under the rest of the garbage below the sink.

The swish of an opening door. Soft bare feet sauntering in. “Alexis, you did it! Good girl. Would you like some more? I made it just for you.”

Midnight tresses swinging back and forth vigorously.

“That’s okay, we can save it for tomorrow.”

“Ding-dong,” said Marvin.

“It’s time for a bedtime story. Tonight we get to read about the battle of Jericho.”

Sleepered feet slither across the carpet. Snuggles on the couch. Bookmark found. Bible story book cracked open and page smoothed.

Story read. “Jericho stood like a ten ton boulder in the path of a dung beetle. For six days the warriors marched around the city without a word. Everyone inside the city was very afraid.

“On the seventh day Joshua told them that God had given them the city and they should do as they were told and hide nothing for themselves.

“The army marched in front of and behind the seven priests as they blew trumpets on and on. At the end of marching seven times around the city on the seventh day, the priests blew a big blast and everyone shouted out loud. The walls fell down and everyone died except for the family of a woman named Rahab. She had helped God’s people.

“Joshua was very happy with the victory but when he tried to fight again, against a small city, he lost. He was very confused. God told him that someone had hidden something away that should not have been hidden. God helped Joshua find out who had hidden something and the man and his family were punished. Then Joshua won all his battles.”


“Ding-dong,” said Marvin.

“Are you okay sweetie? You’re probably right. This doesn’t seem to be written for kids. How is anyone supposed to get anything out of a story like this? No wonder you’re squirming.”

Off the couch. Sleepered feet slither off the carpet. Shuffle down the parquet and onto the tile. Opened cupboard door. Garbage can pulled out onto the floor.

Bare feet pacing quickly. “Alexis! What are you doing? Put that back! Get out of the garbage! What has got into you child?”

“Ding-dong,” said Marvin.

“Ding-dong, yourself you silly parrot. There’s no one at the door and no one’s doing anything wrong for you to tell on.”


“Alexis. I sure wish you could talk. I know you don’t understand much of what I’m saying but I do love you. What are we going to do when you get to go to school next year?"

Stretching for the garbage can.

“Don’t worry baby. You’re not in trouble. I’ll put it away. It’s just garbage. Relax. Let’s brush your teeth and get you ready for bed.”

Tongue stretched out in front of the bathroom mirror.

“It sure makes it hard to brush your teeth with your tongue out like that. Do you like the feel of this electric toothbrush?”

Down the three step footstool. Slither across the tiles. More tiles. Cupboard open. Garbage can pulled out. Napkin excavated.

“Alexis! What did I tell you? Stay out of the garbage! What are you holding?”

Napkin accepted.

“It’s chewed up pickled parsnips. Are these yours from dinner?”

“Ding-dong,” said Marvin.


“It’s okay sweetie. This is amazing. You do understand. Things hidden bring trouble. That’s what the story said. No more pickled parsnips. No more hidden love.”


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This article has been read 480 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 05/24/13
This was such a powerful story. I loved the entire piece, this would do well in a Christian magazine. I loved the message and meaning.

God bless~
Yvonne Blake 05/29/13
Interesting... I was confused as to who Marvin was. (a parrot?) Good lesson!
Yvonne Blake 05/29/13
Interesting... I was confused as to who Marvin was. (a parrot?) Good lesson!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/30/13
Congratulations for ranking 20 overall!